Bafana Bafana

Meyiwa to skipper Bafana

2014-09-04 18:30
Senzo Meyiwa (Gallo Images)

Khartoum - Orlando Pirates' goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa will lead Bafana Bafana in their crucial CAF Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match against Sudan at El Merreikh Stadium in Khartoum on Friday evening.

The announcement was made by coach Shakes Mashaba on Thursday afternoon ahead of the team's final training session at the match venue.

"I think the young man has worked hard and deserved the chance.

"He is a leader and I like his overall attitude," said Mashaba.

Friday's match kicks off at 20:00, and Bafana Bafana will fly back soon after the game.

They will travel to Cape Town on Saturday morning to start preparing for their match against Nigeria at the Cape Town Stadium on 10 September.

Meanwhile, Meyiwa says he will be tapping into his experience of playing in Egypt with Pirates when in their clash with Sudan.

Pirates had to travel to Egypt three times last season as part of their hugely successful CAF Champions League campaign, in which Pirates finished runners-up to Egypt’s Al-Ahly.

Meyiwa starred in all of Pirates’ game in Africa and says, with many similarities between Sudan and Egypt, he wants to help the rest of the team in giving advice on what to expect on Friday night.

"I asked the coach whether I could share my experiences from CAF to the players.

"For us, we want to make our name and make our country proud,” Meyiwa said.

The 26-year-old is expected to start in place of injured shot-stopper Itumeleng Khune, who has been ruled out for up to two months with a foot injury, putting Meyiwa in pole-position to don the gloves for the foreseeable future.

Hostile conditions greeted Meyiwa in Egypt against Ahly in the final, with locals pointing green laser beams on the gloveman’s body and face, in an attempt to distract and even blind him when Ahly were in a promising position on the field.

He has not ruled out the same happening again on Friday.

"There’s nothing you can do. I must do my job."

Sudanese authorities are expected to make the game freely available to the public in an attempt to attract a large contingent on Friday and Meyiwa warned to anticipate a less than friendly reception.

"I’ve played in these conditions so I know what to expect as a senior in the team.

"We need to share the experience with the young members of the team.

"Sometimes the players get excited but they don’t know what to expect in the game, these kinds of games are different from normal friendly games.

"They must expect anything, especially the offside, the set-piece.

"There are a lot of things that will happen.

"The referees won’t be nice so all those things they need to expect."

But, as was the case when Pirates travelled to Egypt, Meyiwa says he is relishing the chance to show naysayers that Bafana are not to be taken lightly.

"It’s nice to play when someone underestimates you, because you surprise them most of the time."

However, the last time South Africa managed a win away from home during an AFCON qualification campaign was in 2009, when they beat Equatorial Guinea 1-0.

More recently, and in their last game away from home in Africa, South Africa went down 2-1 to Ethiopia in a 2014 World Cup qualifier.

Bernard Parker scored an infamous and spectacular own goal to all but condemn Bafana to failure to qualify for the global spectacle in Brazil.


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